September 21, 2019 Finance and Tech Publication

Tesla is testing a new Model S prototype with 3 motors, ‘Plaid’ powertrain

SpaceX chief Elon Musk answers questions after the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition at the SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles on July 21, 2019.

MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images

In a not so humble brag on Wednesday night, Tesla boasted that it beat the record for the fastest four-door sedan at Laguna Seca, the famed race track in Monterey, California.

The company drove the lap with a new, prototype version of its pure battery electric sedan, the Model S, one with 3 motors and a new ‘Plaid’ powertrain.

The company’s official Twitter account crowed: “We lapped Laguna Seca @WeatherTechRcwy in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing of our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype (That’s a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan)”

The next closest record for a four-door was set by a 2016 Cadillac CTSV back in 2015.

A video that Tesla shared showed a driver taking a lap at Laguna Seca, going at speeds as high as 115 miles per hour in some stretches. Tesla did not disclose the name of the person behind the wheel, but said in a subsequent tweet that they were “A member of the Tesla development team (amateur driver).”

Elon Musk touted the lap as a “record” in an earlier tweet. He wrote on Tuesday: “Model S just set record for fastest 4 door ever at Laguna Seca, video tmrw.”

But a spokesperson for Laguna Seca wrote in an e-mail to CNBC: “We were not officiating while the Tesla was testing on the track. Official records only happen during sanctioned events where a sanctioning body is officiating.”

Tesla said it had no further information to offer about the Laguna Seca lap at this time.

The Plaid powertrain will eventually be included in future versions of Tesla’s Model S, Model X and Roadster vehicles, but not its Model 3 or Model Y, according to CEO Elon Musk. He revealed that information, as well as vague pricing details, while chatting up his followers and fans on the social network, also on Wednesday night.

Specifically, Musk wrote: “Yes. To be clear, Plaid powertrain is about a year away from production & applies to S,X & Roadster, but not 3 or Y. Will cost more than our current offerings, but less than competitors.” Answering questions from fans and followers on Twitter, Musk also revealed that the company plans to offer its Plaid powertrain for both “base” and the more expensive “founders series” versions of the new version of the Roadster.

Last week, Musk said he would send a Model S to Nürburgring, referring to a famously challenging track there, the Nordschleife a.k.a. “Green Hell.” That promise implied that Musk believes the Model S can best Porsche’s new battery electric offering, the Taycan, on its home turf.

After a few mocking comments about the Taycan, upon its debut, Musk did eventually tip his hat, writing that the Porsche EV seems like a good car, and had made great time at Nürburgring.

Since Musk threw out the Model S challenge, Nico Rosberg — the pro race car driver — publicly offered his services for the eventual record attempt in what is expected to be a tuned and modified version of the Model S.

Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.

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